Northern Vietnam

An Expert Guide to The Best Treks & Hikes in Vietnam

I’ve been living in Vietnam on and off for 15 years, and I’ve spent most of that time writing travel stories, authoring guidebooks and working as a fixer for other visitors. So vast are the outdoors here that it seems I’m always writing about adventure travel in some form or another. Vietnam’s dramatic landscapes make hiking a worthwhile activity on its own, but unlike mainstream trekking destinations, it’s rarely the sole focus. For me, motorbike touring, caving, abseiling and swimming have all

Where to Eat and Stay in Hanoi's French Quarter

The French designed the French Quarter’s street plan over a century ago, but the Vietnamese have since made it their own. Motorbikes course through the streets, coffee shops spill onto the pavements, and parasite architecture abounds, adding a textured aesthetic to the orderly European blueprint. The French Quarter is also a culinary hub. Of the 48 restaurants listed in the MICHELIN Guide Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City 2023, around a third in Hanoi are in this part of the city. In recent years, t

Where East and West Collide

Central Hanoi is a patchwork of historic neighborhoods, each with its own personality. Quaint charm is on full display in the Old Quarter and around Hoan Kiem Lake, where much of the city’s accommodation is located. Ba Dinh is home to a thriving diplomatic quarter, grand museums and Ho Chi Minh’s iconic mausoleum. West Lake, once a col- lection of rural villages, is now a hub for Hanoi’s burgeon- ing cosmopolitan community, with sky-high apartment buildings that sit next to lakeside temples and pagodas. But the French Quarter, which stretches east from the banks of Hoán Kiem Lake, is different.

9 of the Best Hotels in Hanoi

Hanoi’s chequered history has created a beautiful mess of contrasting neighbourhoods. There's the labyrinthine Old Quarter; tree-studded French Quarter; lake-filled Tay Ho District; and the glistening modernity of the rapidly developing Westside precincts. Fortunately, accommodation options are spread throughout the city so you can pair your personality with the neighbourhood. From boutique charm squeezed into the Old City, to spacious modern creations from award-winning architects, there’s an
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Central Vietnam

In Phong Nha, the Adventure of a Lifetime

What do drooping dragon claws and bulging broccoli sprigs have in common? You’ll find formations resembling both in the Tu Lan cave system, one of Vietnam’s most diverse subterranean kingdoms. Son Doong, crowned the biggest cave on the planet in 2009, continues to steal headlines. But that doesn’t mean it deserves all the attention. Phong Nha offers every caving experience imaginable. The Tu Lan cave system is woven together by a network of streams that carve up the countryside. This took place

Going Underground

As the world’s largest and third-largest caves respectively, Hang Son Doong and Hang En loom large on Asia’s adventure tourism circuit. But don’t let them overshadow central Vietnam’s other underground dominions. Here are six other caves worth discovering, all of which you can only visit with a licensed company that provides guides, food, water, safety equipment and headtorches. For multi-day expeditions you’ll stay in outdoor campsites in paradisal surroundings. Some are perched on riverbends

Southern Vietnam

Pretty in Pink

Playful bird-shaped lights that illuminate pastel pink walls, chubby baby blue poufs with rounded corners and 1000 spongy turquoise loungers. This isn’t a gigantic soft play for inexhaustible children, but a new hangout spot for film enthusiasts. Ho Chi Minh City’s Beta Cinema, built in 2021 in Go Vap District, may feel like a jovial outburst, but local firm Module K carefully designed each corner to echo the city’s architectural heritage, says Jade Nguyen, the firm’s founder and director.

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